77) More evidence of nuclear reactions

Ludwik Kowalski (July 7, 2003)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Motivation for this item was provided by the 2000 paper of G. Miley et al. entitled “On the Reaction Products and Heat Correlation for LENRs.” The rest of this paragraph is the abstract of their paper. “ ‘Low Energy Nuclear Reactions’, or LENRs, typically involve electrolytes containing light water along with electrodes made of metals such as Ni, Ti and Pd. In these experiments a variety of reaction products (isotopes), with masses both higher and lower than that of the host electrode material, have been observed at the University of Illinois (U of IL). Related results, often termed “transmutation” studies, have been reported by other researchers. These observations suggest that proton-metal initiated reactions occur in such LENR cells. This paper discusses evidence that the production of these reaction products is correlated with the excess heat also frequently observed in LENR cells. Such a correlation for LENR reactions would be equivalent, in principle, to the correlation of He-4 with excess heat that is reported for heavy water-Pd experiments where a D-D reaction is postulated.”

The entire paper, a presentation at the 8th International Cold Fusion Conference, can be downloaded from the < http://www.lenr-canr.org > web site; the name of the file is <MilesMradiationm.pdf>. George Miley is a prominent American experimental scientist in the area of cold fusion. (He also wrote on social aspects of scientific research, as illustrated in item #36 at my cold fusion web site.) The paper begins by reminding us about experiments in which accumulation of 4He, presumably resulting from D+D encouters, was observed in experiments with palladium cathodes in heavy water cells. Then the paper displays a figure listing reaction products identified in Miley’s cathodes. I was impressed by the number of displayed products, and by the fact that their atomic masses cover a wide range (from lless than 10 to more than 210). The average reaction rate, in terms of [atoms/(cc*sec)], is specified for each product. The authors focus on high yield products (production rates exceeding 1013) because their presence can not possibly be attributed to contamination. Most of the products are not radioactive. Isotopic ratios are often significantly different from those found in nature.

Such products have been reported by many research teams and their presence is a strong indication that something highly unusual is going on. This has already been discussed in earlier publications. Miley and his team go beyond this point; they focus interpretations. The hypothesis is that nuclear reactions are somehow induced when protons (nuclei of hydrogen) interact with the cathode material. Knowing the amount of excess heat generated, and the number of atoms produced, authors are able to calculate the average energy released. The result, 0.15 MeV per reaction, is by many orders of magnitude higher than energies released in most exothermic chemical reactions. But it is about 25 smaller than in common hot fusion reactions. Note that the reported reaction rates were calculated by dividing measured numbers of atoms by the time of operation. The numbers would be much larger if atoms where produced in short bursts (rather than continousely).

I am not a chemist and I take it for granted that the excess heat measured can not possibly be due to chemical reactions. I know, however, that only a nuclear reaction can transform one chemical element into another. The authors report that “a striking pattern [in the mass distribution] consistently observed in these measurements is that the high-yield reaction products occur in four mass ranges, roughly A = 20-30, 50-80, 110-130, and 190-210 [4]. Statistically significant shifts in isotope ratios from natural abundance are also observed for many of the products [2, 3]. Numerous precautions were taken to guard against impurities in these measurements (see references 2, 3). This includes use of special “clean” systems, blank runs, and precision diagnostics prior to and following runs.

Other evidence of the nuclear basis for these results included the observation of low energy X-ray and/or beta emission from electrodes after a run and statistically significant shifts in isotope ratios for key elements. The general trends from these results are reasonably consistent with reaction product measurements by other workers (see the discussion and references in references 4, 5). However, others have often termed their work “transmutation studies” as opposed to “reaction product studies”. For that reason, other studies have not generally focused on the total product yields or on correlations with heat.” Note that abnormal isotopic compositions could not result for contamination.

Is Professor Miley incompetent? Is he a liar? Why is his report, and similar reports of other researchers, are not taken seriously by leaders of our scientific establishment? Why are all cold fusion investigators accused of practicing pseudo science? How does Miley’s cold fusion report differ from reports presented by the so-called “true scientists?” The situation is not good. I tried to do something about this but Physics Today, rejected my “letter to the editor.” My hope was that the letter would trigger a discussion about the way to restaure normality. Why should cold fusion be treated differently than other areas of science?